Under the hood

The Volkswagen Polo’s a bit of a ‘meh’ car really. It’s very good in most areas, but exciting in none. There is one exception, however, and that’s this GTi version which packs enough power to scare your mates witless (especially if you’re CT’s production team) and sounds like a proper goer, to boot.

Crammed under the hood of the GTi is a turbo- and supercharged 1.4-litre motor which churns out 178bhp; that makes this Polo a proper hot hatch, which is decent news if you can’t afford the more banging Golf GTi.

Thanks to its seven-speed DSG gearbox (there’s no manly manual option here) this pumped Polo will hit 62mph from dead in 6.9sec. Flat out, you’ll cruise at 142mph. Sweet.

Behind the wheel

Grrrrrrrr” That’s the sound that this hench Polo makes when you’re driving. Most of the time. And while that’s great to hear when you blast past a herd of chicas – because that impresses women – it’s not something that we could live with day in day out.

The reason? The biggest culprit is that boromatic seven speeder, which holds on to the GTi’s gears for far too long, especially when cold. A sweet six-speed manual ‘box would be the obvious solution, but alas “nein, nein, nein!”

So now you know what’s not to like about the Polo GTi, what about the bits that really matter? Speed and handling…

Yeh buddy, the Polo GTi is a flippin’ fast little car (quicker than the numbers suggest), with urgent and smooth acceleration and great in-gear performance. While it doesn’t have launch control – as we found out the hard way – like its bigger Golf GTi brother, it does produce strong grip from the get-go as you can see in this cheeky behind-the-scenes video…

It’s a tentative thumbs up from us for ride and handling, too. While the GTi hugs the ground 15mm lower than the standard Polo and sits on 17s, on-the-move comfort levels are acceptable most of the time. Storm over a cavernous pothole like a loon, however, and you’ll really feel the heavy ‘thunk’ through the suspension. And your back.

Turn-in is keen enough, and while the steering feel is OK, it is heavier than you’d expect, which may put buyers off. A Renaultsport Clio could teach the GTi a thing or two about steering feel.

What about the looks? A hot hatch needs to look as rude as Amber Heard is sexy, does it not?

The Polo GTi makes a good – if safe – fist of looking like a bad-ass. Inside you find tartan sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and red stitching, which is pleasant. Outside you’re looking at a cheeky twin exhaust, a nice set of alloys and some red detailing at the front. The phrase we’re looking for here is ‘understated-rudeboy‘, people. Whether it does it for you, we’re not so sure.

Splash the cash?

Now you’re asking. There’s no doubting that the Polo GTi is one rapid little hatchback, but when you’re competing against the likes of Renaultsport and Vauxhall (Corsa VXR), both of which offer better driving dynamics, more fun AND a manual gearbox, the pumped Polo doesn’t really make sense.

If, on the other hand, you get your hair cut at Toni & Guy (not by your mate Dave) then the VW will be for you. It looks classy, features an upmarket interior and will give people the impression that you’re a little bit more successful than the bloke in the Clio.

Volkswagen Polo GTi Review: Aryan Vs Predator, 8.3 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

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Rating: 8.3/10 (7 votes cast)


Model Volkswagen Polo GTi
BHP 178 bhp
0-62mph 6.9 secs
Top Speed 142 mph
Weight 1269 kg
MPG 37.9 mpg
CO2 139 g/km
Price £19,950

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